House Reps invite Modi to visit US

Maximum governance receives applause

House Reps  invite Modi to visit US

Gates to the US may finally be thrown open for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, with an American delegation on Thursday inviting him to visit the country.

However, the delegation did not commit whether the Obama administration would grant visa to Modi, especially since he was turned down earlier in the wake of the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.

An 18-member delegation, comprising three Republicans from the House of Representatives and an NRI businessman sympathetic to the BJP, met Modi in Ahmedabad. They wanted enhanced people-to-people contact, impressed by the state’s progress. 

After the meeting, Republican Aaron Schock, who led the delegation, told reporters in Ahmedabad: “We have extended an invitation to Chief Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to show us there what he has achieved here in his state.”

Though Schock refused to give any assurance on granting visa to Modi, he promised to work with others in persuading the US administration to welcome the chief minister. Modi, whose image had taken a beating following the riots, has forced foreign countries including the European Union to go soft on him over the years, after he turned Gujarat into a lucrative investment destination.

“Obviously it is a matter of the US administration but we, along with other Republican lawmakers, will work in that direction with the US administration,” Schock said in response to a specific query on whether the invitation indicates a shift in the administration’s stand.

“We have invited him to the US to show us what he has done here in the state. We were impressed with what we have seen here, specially with his statement of minimum government, maximum governance. And as a Congressman of the Republican Party, I also believe in limited government,” Schock said.

Besides Schock, Republicans Cynthia Lummis (Wyoming) and Cathy M Rodgers (Washington), along with NRI businessman Salabh Kumar were part of the delegation. Kumar, a member of the “Overseas Friends of BJP,” brought the delegation to India.

Salabh Kumar was optimistic on Modi visiting the US as early as June.  Neither the Chief Minister’s Office, nor the BJP commented on the invitation, but both welcomed the appreciation received from the delegation.

The Chief Minister’s Office said Modi was thankful to the members of the US Congress and business persons for showering kind words on Gujarat’s development.

“It is a matter of great assurance that even senior US Congressmen are now openly appreciating the good work of all-round development under Narendra Modi in Gujarat. After the European Union and Great Britain, now even American political leaders are lauding his work,” said BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.

However, the Congress shrugged off the development as a routine affair. “Well, the US ambassador came to see me on Wednesday. I would like to know as to how the BJP looks at it,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said.

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